We analyzed changes over time in species composition and functional guild structure (temporal beta diversity) for natural assemblages and those modified by humans in a fragmented, tropical mountain landscape. The assemblages belong to cloud forests (the original vegetation type), secondary forests, traditional shaded coffee plantations, commercial shaded coffee plantations, and a cattle pasture. Copronecrophagous beetles, subfamily Scarabaeinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), were used as the indicator group. This group has been used in previous studies and other tropical forests and has been found to be a good indicator of the effects of anthropogenic change. For each assemblage, we compared samples that were collected several years apart. Changes were found in species composition, order of abundance, and in the proportion that a given species is present in the different functional groups. The changes that occurred between samplings affected the less abundant species in the cloud forest and in the pasture. In the other vegetation types, both abundant and less abundant species were affected. Their order of abundance and proportion in the different guilds also changed. This study shows that, although landscape richness remains relatively constant, richness at the local level (alpha diversity) changes notably even over short lapses of time. This could be a characteristic of landscapes with intermediate degrees of disturbance (such as those that have been partially modified for human use), where assemblage composition is very fluid.
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